Berlin is a big capital city of a country famed for making excellent automobiles, but it can no longer afford roads and is now moving people by transit, bike and especially through walking.
Berlin is not alone. Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogotá, New York City and other major cities simply cannot afford the cost, the pollution, the noise and the congestion of more cars. They are embracing a new concept called EcoMobility - mobility without private cars.
EcoMobility is defined as moving people and goods in urban areas using combinations of walking, cycling (including electric bikes) and wheeling (roller blades), public transport, and light electric vehicles.
The concept is being widely embraced by cities looking for affordable and effective forms of sustainable transport.
“Cities should focus more on moving people rather than moving vehicles,” said Stephen Yarwood, mayor of Adelaide, Australia.
The fact is, cars are not very good at moving people. A standard 3.5-meter-wide city street has a maximum capacity of 2,000 people in cars per hour. The same road can carry 14,000 cyclists or 19,000 pedestrians each hour.
Light rail in the same space can move 22,000 people, and a double lane of bus rapid transit will move 43,000 people, said Manfred Breithaupt, director of the GIZ Sustainable Urban Transport Project, a German NGO.
The transportation sector is one of biggest contributors of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the emissions causing climate change.